Malnad special: Jackfruit tree. Photos by the authorSirsi’s jackfruit mela draws crowds

A variety of jackfruits available only in the district, but also outside were on display at the mela.

The mela, organised by the Kadamba Marketing Cooperative, is now into its fourth year, and has been provided financial support by the Western Ghats Task Force.

People from across the rural belt  thronged the market to sell jackfruit. Members of the public responded with equal enthusiasm, because here was a chance for them to savour long-forgotten dishes made out of jackfruit. The Malnad region is known as the nursery of jackfruit. The mela drove home the commercial and nutritional importance of jackfruit. The seeds of jackfruit are of great nutritional value, and are known to curb cancer. Jackfruit is often called the kalpavriksha for its many uses. Uravu, an organisation of Thrikkaipetta in Kerala, exhibited different varieties of value-added jackfruit products. According to C D Suneesh of Uravu, “the payasam made out of jackfruit seeds is very nutritious; what’s more; it tastes just like cashew.”

Also, Kadamba Marketing is offering training to those interested in making jackfruit-based products. More than 75 home makers are now earning their income, thanks to the cooperative. Kadamba Marketing has already purchased one lakh jackfruit papads from rural women and is all set to buy any number of papads because there is a huge demand for the same.

Rekha Hegde of Menasikeri, who has been earning her income from jackfruit products, says the fruit is a part and parcel of her family. “We purchase more than 2,000 jackfruits in a season and see to it that every single fruit earns us our livelihood for the year,” she adds.

Growers at the mela resolved to conserve the best varieties of jackfruit and raise awareness among farmers to conserve the varieties by forming a directory of all available types.

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